The nationalistic anti-EU drift of the Italian radical left

There is a different view, however, which is starting to emerge within the left – at least in the left opposing Italy’s Democratic Party, which is not a socialist or a social democratic party, although being the largest one in the socialist group in the European Parliament and being a member of the Party of European Socialists. Indeed, the current Italian prime minister and Democratic Party leader, Matteo Renzi, wouldn’t be a member of any socialist or social democratic party under the old Italian party system in the so-called First Republic, as he would probably rather be a leftist Christian democrat.

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Yanis Varoufakis on Wolfgang Schäuble

There is a thing I have noticed if I have not misinterpreted what I read.
In an article published today on The Guardian, the former finance minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that the intention of Wolfgang Schäuble, the current finance minister of Germany, is a Grexit. As the eurozone is neither a fixed-exchange-rate regime area based on rules and discipline nor a state or a federation issuing its own currency, but a sort of hybrid entity, according to Varoufakis the German minister would see a Grexit as a way to take one of the two paths, that is the path of disciple or the path of an European federation, and, among the two options, Schäuble would favour the “disciplinarian” option rather the federal one (which would be based on mutualization of debt and risk, I suppose, rather than common rules and discipline).
It seems a change of opinion if you compare what Varoufakis itself said to Die Zeit less than two months ago:

Question: What are the European topics you probably could agree on with Mr Schäuble?

YV: That Europe needs a political union and that, without it, our monetary union is problematic.

Substantially, Varoufakis seemed to think, if we stick to his words, that Schäuble was, in his own way, in favour of a political union, rather than of one simply based on rules established and followed by national governments. Today, Schäuble is included in the camp of those who do not want a federation. Since to me political union and federation are quite synonyms, at least in European Union matters, that seems a shift in opinions.
Furthermore, what Varoufakis wrote today (that a Grexit could have two possible outcomes, one of which would be a federal Europe) leaves room for some interesting reasoning on what a European federalist should wish in order to achieve his/her political target. What if the sacrifice of a member state could lead to the unintended consequence of a European federation, based on the urge to avoid the same scenario in the future? Could be a good idea to sacrifice Greece and ‘upgrade’ the rest?

Avoid power or die: the sad life of liberals in Europe

Sign displayed before the 2014 EU elections

The results of the latest general elections held in the United Kingdom seem to confirm – in my opinion – a sort of trend which has been occurring in the largest European countries over the last two years: once the liberals get into government, they are eventually wiped out.

In 2013, Mario Monti’s Civic Choice performed under the expectations at the Italian general elections and won an amount of seats which resulted in being irrelevant in the formation of the new cabinet. This and the subsequent collapse of the parliamentary groups led to the extremely poor results at the latest European elections and in opinion polls. Ironically, perhaps, Monti was assisted by David Axelrod, who also has been advising Ed Miliband during the electoral campaign we have just left behind us – and we have all seen the results; Europe is not America, or, maybe, spin doctors’ influence is overrated – I cannot really say, though.

In Germany, at the 2013 federal elections, after four years in coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the Liberals (which, previously, had been out of government since 1998) suffered a massive loss of votes, coming fifth as a party and winning zero seats – an astounding defeat.

Now, it is the turn of Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats: five years of coalition (yeah, there’s that thing about tuition fees, I know) and, now, 8 mere seats left for them in Westminster.

There are exceptions, of course: in the Netherlands liberal parties did well at the 2012 general elections – but the Netherlands are the stronghold of liberalism in Europe.

Worrying is the fact that this decline occurs at the same time of the rise of populist, extreme and nationalist parties, an event which would strongly need the counterweight of rational policies and anti-nationalism (if not cosmopolitanism). Even more worrying, in my view, is the fact that more than simply electoral defeats, we see whole parties almost wiped out from the scene, making, perhaps, life for liberal ideas and policies even more difficult: they would probably still circulate, but no one would advocate them.